'Pressure' from Wof price rise

Dunedin Warrant of Fitness Centre inspector Phil Ward  checks a car yesterday. Photo by Craig...
Dunedin Warrant of Fitness Centre inspector Phil Ward checks a car yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Low-income motorists driving older vehicles will avoid the warrant of fitness inspection price rise by driving illegally, Anglican Family Care director Nicola Taylor says.

From Tuesday, a law change will require an annual rather than six-monthly Wof inspection for light vehicles registered after 2000.

Mrs Taylor said the extra financial ''pressure'' from the inspection price increase would result in more low-income earners choosing not to own a vehicle or drive unwarranted vehicles.

Dunedin Warrant of Fitness Centre inspector Phil Park said the cost of a Wof inspection at the South Dunedin centre went up from $50 to $55 on Tuesday.

About half the vehicles coming to the centre were registered before 2000, he said.

The law change was ''diabolical'' and Dunedin driving conditions meant vehicles needed to be checked more than once a year, he said.

Vehicle Testing New Zealand South Dunedin manager Graeme Lewis said the inspection cost had increased $1 to $52 on Tuesday ''to cover our costs''.

Despite the station forecasting a third fewer inspections, it had employed more staff for work including Wof, pre-purchase and compliance inspections.

''We don't know what is going to happen in 12 months, but at the moment we are busy.''

Customers with newer vehicles had commented they wanted six-monthly inspections to remain because they preferred two small maintenance bills a year, rather than ''struggling'' to pay a large annual bill, he said.

Consequently, a new inspection service between Wofs was available, which had been ''reasonably popular.''

Centre City Auto Repairs owner Stephen Fraser said he had not raised his inspection price.

He wanted a law change to allow inspectors to make more detailed inspections by removing wheels and brake drums, which would result in more vehicles failing inspections and ensure safer vehicles on the roads.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the price of a Wof inspection would be determined by the vehicle inspection industry, ''which operates in a competitive market''.

Six-monthly inspections were required for vehicles first registered before January 1, 2000, so as cars were replaced, the number requiring inspections twice a year would fall.

Road safety charity Brake director Caroline Perry said as vehicles moved to annual inspections, it was essential motorists checked their vehicle themselves and got it serviced regularly.

''Take your vehicle to a mechanic if you think anything might be wrong ... Your life is worth a lot more than the cost of a Wof or vehicle repairs.''

Before driving
• Check tyre tread and wear.
• Check tyres for strange bulges, cuts or embedded objects.
• Check tyre pressure every week when tyres are cold.
• Check lights are clean and bulbs are not blown.
• Check oil and water levels, and wiper blades.
• Check wheels and wheel fixings for defects, including loose nuts.
• Check windscreen and mirrors.

SOURCE: Road safety charity Brake.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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